In this talk I will give examples of simplifying principles which have been elaborated during evolution for movement and perception in living organisms. The examples analyzed during the talk include: a) kinematic laws relating tangential velocity and curvature for planar motion and torsion for 3D hand movements; b) the co-planar variation linking elevation angles of limb segments; c) anticipation of reaching movements by gaze. The remarkable finding is that similar laws govern both hand and locomotion trajectory formation. I will discuss the thesis that locomotion is controlled in a top-down manner from an inertial guidance platform (the head) and that the ZMP principle is not sufficient for allowing humanoid robots to free themselves from the ground reference. Recent models and experiments have confirmed this theory. During the talk also several studies of the optimization of locomotion trajectories in humans will be presented. These discoveries led us to show that the human brain uses several geometries (Euclidian, affine and equiaffine). Some or all these principles may help designing humanoid or other kinds of robots.
Alain Berthoz is Honorary Professor at Collège de France, member of the French Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Technologies, the Academia Europae, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and other (e.g., Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium and Academy of Medicine of Bulgaria). He received several awards for his research. He is an Engineer, and an expert in Biomechanics, Psychology and Neurophysiology. He is a worldwide known specialist of the physiology of multi-sensory integration, spatial orientation, vestibular system, oculomotor system, locomotion, and spatial memory. He has contributed to the understanding of the cognitive aspects of sensory-motor pathologies in children, and of cognitive functions including recently psychiatric diseases. He has been at the origin of the technical development of a number of biomedical equipments: haptic force-feedback devices, eye movement measurement, virtual reality for the study of navigation, locomotion, and executive function deficits. He is currently working on the study of cognitive deficits in cerebral palsy children and spatial memory deficits in schizophrenic patients within European research projects. He also cooperates with robotics groups in Japan and Italy on bio-inspired robotics and humanoids, and has participated to several projects (NEUROROBOTICS, ROBOSOM, ROMEO, KOROIBOT etc.). He is author of more than 300 papers in international journals. He wrote several books among which: “The Brain’s Sense of movement” (Harvard University Press); “Emotion and Reason. The cognitive foundations of decision making" (Oxford University Press); “Simplexity” (Yale University Press); “La vicariance” (O. Jacob). He has given plenary lectures at BIOROB, ICRA, IROS. He received the honors of Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite, Officier de la Légion d’Honneur, Commendatore of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.